for this game

Hot shooting propels Timberwolves over Heat

Feb 19, 2009 - 5:57 AM MIAMI (Ticker) -- All-Star Weekend may be over, but it sure didn't look like it on Wednesday night, as the showdown between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat turned into its own 3-point shooting contest down the stretch.

But after pulling ahead from long range, the Timberwolves closed it out at the line, snapping a five-game skid with a 111-104 triumph over the Heat.

"Other games, when teams went on runs against us, we would put our head down," T-Wolves guard Sebastian Telfair said. "Tonight that wasn't the case. They went on their run and we came back down and attacked them."

After struggling for much of the fourth quarter, the T-Wolves caught fire from the arc once the clock ran under the five-minute mark. Ryan Gomes snapped a tie with a 3-point bucket and Telfair added one of his own on the next possession to open up a six-point advantage.

But the Heat could play the long-range game, too. Three-point shootout champion Daequan Cook connected from the arc and rookie Mario Chalmers added a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer of his own to push Miami back ahead, 99-97.

Randy Foye and Telfair added 3s on back-to-back possessions to give Minnesota a four-point advantage, which was cut to one just seconds later on Wade's first and only 3-pointer of the night. But that was as close as the Heat would get. Telfair, Kevin Love and Mike Miller combined to go 8-of-8 at the line over the final 31 seconds, nailing the coffin shut once and for all.

The T-Wolves earned their first win without center Al Jefferson, who is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee in a February 8 loss to New Orleans. He underwent successful surgery on the knee on Wednesday.

"When we had Big Al and Kevin Love, there were a lot of nights, we might not have won the game, but we pounded them on the glass and at least we had that to say for ourselves," T-Wolves coach Kevin McHale said. "We are missing one of our double-digit rebounders, but I thought everyone rebounded well."

Jefferson was the team's leading scorer at 23.0 points per game and it had struggled in his absence - in fact, it had been struggling even with his gaudy numbers.

The Timberwolves finally broke out without their star, with Telfair and Gomes picking up the slack. Telfair scored a career-high 30 points and hit 6-of-10 from 3-point range while Gomes added 20 and seven boards.

"He had a great game," Love said of Telfair. "He stepped up and he got the job done. We all played around him and we played great."

Miami superstar led all players with 37 points and 12 assists, but the Heat were absolutely manhandled on the glass. The Timberwolves finished with a 49-24 rebounding advantage - not exactly a promising start for the Jermaine O'Neal era in Miami.

"After our start, I don't think we impacted them defensively the entire game," Spoelstra said. "They absolutely annihilated us on the backboard. One-on-one, pick-and-rolls, they were just breaking us down."

O'Neal was acquired on Monday from the Toronto Raptors in the deal that shipped Shawn Marion north of the border. The veteran center started in the middle in his Heat debut and logged 27 minutes, but somehow managed just one rebound.

"That is something that can never happen," O'Neal said. "I don't care if I'm on one leg. I can't grab just one rebound in 27 minutes."